Blogging with Windows Live Writer 2011. 3. Let’s insert something!

One of the best features of Live Writer is how you easily it allows you to insert Hyperlinks, Pictures, Videos and even maps into your blog posts and have complete control over whereabouts they are positioned and how they look. We’ll tackle each one in turn.

Hyperlinks

1. Firstly adding a Hyperlink. What is a Hyperlink? Well, this is best illustrated by demonstrating one. Let’s say you are doing a blog post about a recent holiday and you mention the place visited. This could be a town, or even a restaurant. For this post I’m going to use the example of The White Hart Hotel in Hayle, where we enjoyed a very nice lunch during our last holiday. Firstly I need to find out if The White Hart Hotel has a website. It has. Now I need to copy the URL of the website by highlighting the URL in the address bar in my browser and then returning to Writer.

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2. Next I need to click on the Hyperlink Icon in the ribbon. The web address that you just copied in your browser will automatically be inserted in the Web Address box. All that you need to do is fill in the words that will be associated with that address inside the Text to be displayed box. (Linking.) For this demo, I’ll use White Hart Hotel in my text, and I’m also going to tick the box ‘Automatically Link to this Text.’  Click on INSERT. White Hart Hotel will appear in your post, and whenever any reader clicks on those words, they will automatically be taken to the relevant website. You can do this with any word/words used in your post that has a relevant site. So when I talk about Windows Live Writer, I can direct my readers with a Hyperlink to the webpage describing Windows Live Writer and its features. The colour of the Hyperlink will be dictated by the link colour set in your blogs theme, but you can make it stand out even more by highlighting it and then making it bold. (See above.) Try clicking on both of my Hyperlinks and see where you are taken.

Pictures

3. Next, we’ll insert a picture. Clicking on the Picture icon from the INSERT area of the ribbon produces a drop down list of choices consisting of

  • From your computer
  • From the web
  • Create an online Album (This album will be stored in your SkyDrive.)
  • Add an online album (Already available from your SkyDrive)

4. Clicking on From your computer will take you to your pictures folders, usually the last one you had open, so that you can choose a picture to insert. All you need to do is simply click on a picture from your library and it will be inserted into your post. NOTE! The picture will be inserted wherever your cursor happens to be in your text so its best to use return to begin a new line before inserting a picture.

Butterfly in Christchurch, New Zealand

Your chosen picture will be aligned to the left hand side of your post by default and will be the smallest size. We’ll run through changing its size and position in a future post.

5. Alternatively you can insert a picture from the web by clicking on the second choice from the drop down list. However, first you need to know the URL or web address of your chosen picture. Open your browser, choose your picture and then copy the URL from the address bar just as you did with the Hyperlink.

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6. Insert the Web Address by right clicking with your mouse and choosing Paste. Your chosen picture will appear in the small window. You can Preview it first if you wish. If your happy with it, click on Insert, and your chosen picture from the web will be inserted into the post where your cursor is currently positioned.

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Photo Album.

7. The next choice is Create Online Album so let’s choose that next from the drop down list.

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8. A window will open for you to choose From Files or alternatively From Online Albums. (Albums that if you already have a SkyDrive account, you already own.)  You firstly need to sign in, and clicking on Sign In opens a sign in window where you can fill in your credentials in the relevant boxes, choose whether or not you wish Writer to remember your password or keep asking for it, and click on OK.

9. If you don’t own a Microsoft Account (you can use your Hotmail/ Live account) then click on Don’t have a Windows Live ID? to be taken to the relevant webpage where you can create a Microsoft Account. You will then have access to SkyDrive which you can use to store all of your photos/documents etc for free.  When you have done that, fill in your credentials in the window and click on OK.

10. Now you can create your first online album and display it in your post. Your visitors will be able to access the album by clicking on it and also view all of its contents as a slideshow. So let’s add some photos to our album!

11. You add photos by either opening your pictures folder in a separate window and simply dragging them over to the Add Photos window one by one, or alternatively click on the green + Add Photos choice, highlight the photos that you wish to include in your pictures folder and they will be added to the album.

Adding photos to your albums

12. When you have added all of your chosen pictures, click on Insert. As you can see below, your photos will now be displayed in a very attractive manner inside your post. By default they will be aligned to the left hand side of your post, but you can change this by clicking on top of the whole album, (a striped square will now appear at the edges of your photo album) and a new Tab will be highlighted above the ribbon in Writer called  Photo Album Tools. Underneath you will see the tab Format. Click on it and the ribbon will change to show completely new choices and icons to use.

13. This ribbon will appear every time you click on top of a Photo Album or a single picture, although the choices offered are slightly different for a single picture.  We’ll tackle these in a later post, but for now you’ll see that the Alignment area is highlighted. To centre your new Photo Album, simply click on the Centre icon. Now your photo album is placed central in your post and looks much neater and tidier.

We’ll cover all the things that you can change about how your Photo Album is displayed and work our way through all of the different choices open to you in a later blog post, but for now we’ll leave this demo Album as it is. Writer will automatically save the whole album to your SkyDrive when you publish your post.

14. The other choice we need to set up before publishing our blog post containing the photo album is to set up our album privacy. Seeing as our album is part of a blog post and you probably want all of your readers to be able to look at it and access it fully, it might be best to set this as Public, unless of course you only wish certain readers to see it, in which case you will have to set their permissions individually. Its much easier therefore to make a photo album public when you insert one in a blog post. To do this, click on top of the album again in order to invoke the Photo Album Tools and then click on Album Privacy icon. This will be set at ‘Don’t share this photo album on my Windows Live profile’ by default, so untick that choice.

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15. You are also offered the choice to include additional file information like the location where you took each photo, camera description and time taken. You can disable this if you don’t want it included by unticking it. Click on OK.

16. The last choice from the drop down list under the Picture icon is to include an album in your post that you already have on SkyDrive. Of course this will only apply if you have had a SkyDrive account previously and saved photos to it. If you are new to SkyDrive then this choice is not applicable until you have some albums saved. Here’s my choice of albums. To insert one of your current albums into a post, simply click on it to select it, and then click on Insert.

Adding an online album from SkyDrive

17. Writer will download your chosen Album where your cursor is currently placed inside your post and display it as before aligned to the left hand side and as the default display. As before you can click on top of the Album to bring up the Photo Album Tools and then Centre your photo album in your post as before by choosing the Centre alignment under the format tab.

Next post we’ll cover adding a video to our blog post from the different choices offered, and also take a look at inserting a map as well.

Technogran.

Blogging with Windows Live Writer 2011. 4. Inserting Everything bar the kitchen sink.

Insert Ribbon.

Up until now during this tutorial, we haven’t moved from the HOME ribbon, which has contained most of the choices that we needed to make.  We’re now going to take a closer look at the INSERT ribbon, where there are lot’s of other things we can insert into our blog posts.

1. Click on the INSERT tab above the ribbon. Immediately the ribbon changes to a much more detailed one featuring everything that you can insert into your blog posts. Let’s take a look at all the other things we can insert into our posts shall we? 

Insert ribbon

As you can see from this screen shot, we can insert (under the Break area) a Horizontal line, a Clear Break and a Split post. (The latter being where you can post a short summary to be shown on your Home page, and then continue to read the full post by clicking on ‘more’ etc. You can also add a Table into your post, and under the Media area of the ribbon, we have the previous Hyperlink, Picture and Photo Album (which work in exactly the same way as before) Video, Map, Post Tags and Emoticons to show your readers how you are feeling at that time in your post.

Lastly you can add some Plug-ins to Writer which add enhancements such as the Facebook plug-in or Twitter plug in, which automatically send an update to either as you publish a post. Let’s try working our way through the BREAKS area first.

2. Click on Horizontal Line.


A line is then placed inside your post. Next, try the Clear break choice.
Your cursor will do a return and move to a new line.  Next let’s try out the Split Post.

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Windows Live Writer. the new Wave 4 version.

I have recently been putting the new beta version of Live Writer through its paces, and I thought that some of you might be interested in my findings.  For most WordPress users there are some very useful  new features available in the Ribbon Interface and I will feature some of these now.

The first welcome addition for WordPress users is the ability to not only go straight to your dashboard from the ribbon, but also to be able to manage your comments as well as go straight to your blog. I think that WordPress users will really welcome this new feature.

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Windows Live Writer Wave 4, some more screen grabs.

Of all the leaked screen grabs of the upcoming Windows Live Wave 4 updates posted on the Internet so far  Windows Live Writer certainly seems to be the furthest ahead in terms of development judging by these pictures.

windows_live_writer_wave4_image_editThe screen grab above shows the Picture tab choices across the ribbon complete with all the obvious choices available to the user in easy to click on (and find!) icons which are really simple to understand for the most novice user. These are divided into seperate areas across the ribbon as follows, Size, Rotate, Picture Styles, Properties, Settings, Alignment ( complete with easy to understand icons of each picture position in relation to the text) and lastly Margins. (which I find that most Writer users don’t make enough use of.) Also note that the Set Category and Set Publish date are now placed just below the ribbon so the user isn’t constantly having to scroll down to the bottom of the edit/compose screen in order to access any feature.  Good thinking team!  Note also that the right hand side bar is now no longer needed as every choice and feature that it contained is now easily available via the ribbon interface thereby allowing the full width of the screen for a users blog post.

Wave 4 Live Writer ribbon

This next screen grab shows the Home tab on the ribbon. There does seem to be one area  of this screen grab that I feel is not needed on the Home ribbon and that is the Insert area.  The Home tab ribbon is divided into Clipboard, Publish, Font, Paragraph (which also contains tabs,numbering, quotes and align) HTML styles reminiscent of those found in the Word ribbon and which appears to work in a similar way, Insert which is not necessary in this Home ribbon seeing as it has its own tab and so is surplus to requirements in this part of the Ribbon Interface, and lastly Editing which contains the inbuilt spelling checker, word count, find and Select All. Note everyone that lovely wide area now available for your composing and editing!  Brilliant!

Smileys in Writer wave 4 1

Lastly a much closer view of the Insert tab ribbon showing everything that you can insert into your post. Firstly we have the all new singing and dancing Breaks consisting of Horizontal line (Hurrah!) Clear break and Split post followed by Tables, Media which naturally includes Hyperlink, Picture, Video, Photo Album, Map, Post Tags and some cool new Emoticons, and lastly Plug-ins containing Add a plug-in and Manage plug-ins. I just wish I had my mitts on it all!

My grateful thanks to LiveSino.net for these screen grabs.

TG

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Blogging with Windows Live Writer.8

Inserting a Video.

There are bound to be times when you need to include a video into your post. You may own a video recorder, see a video online that you would like to post about, or maybe you have made a video using your favourite pictures using the excellent free Windows Live Movie Maker  included with the Live Essentials suite of programs.

Live Writer makes it so easy to add a video to your blog post so here’s how!  First of all, you will need to be subscribed to YouTube if you do not already have one  on there because Writer uses YouTube in order to be able to have access your videos inside your blog posts.

Next decide whereabouts in your text or blog you would like to place your video. After making sure that your cursor is positioned at the exact place, click on Video from the Insert list. You will then see the Insert Video window appear with three tab choices at the top which are as follows, From Web, From File and from Video Service.  As From Web is the default tab in use when you access this window, then all you need to do is type in the URL of your chosen video that you would like to add to your post  into the URL box below the three tabs.  Your chosen video will then appear in the window, and all you need do is then click on Insert and it will be inserted into  your post.

Inserting a Video

The From File choice allows you to place a video into your post from the video files that you have on your computer. This becomes especially handy if you make a lot of home videos yourself using Movie Maker for example.  In order to do this, click on the From File tab and you will then see another window open with lots of details to fill in.  First you need to input your YouTube user name and password so that Writer can upload your video file.  Next by clicking on the small box to the right hand side of the Video File box, you will be able to choose from all of your available video files that you have currently stored  on your computer.

The title of your video will automatically be inserted if you have already named it, but you can alter this if you wish and also add some tags to your video. Then decide a Category for your video from the list provided and lastly you need to tick the YouTube terms of use followed by  clicking on Insert.  Your chosen video from your files will then  be uploaded to YouTube and then inserted into your text.  NOTE. You do need to be patient as the upload to YouTube can take quite some time!

From a File If you already have quite a few videos available on YouTube, then the From Video Service is probably the better choice to make. Clicking on From Video service will then allow you to quickly access to all your videos available on YouTube, and you can just click on the one that you would like to insert into your blog post.

Choosing from your videos on YouTubeWhen your video has been inserted into your post you can alter its size, its position within your text and also give it a caption as well if you wish.  In order to do this, click on the video to bring up the Video Menu on the right.  You will see the same Layout choice as you have used with your pictures. You can place the video inline, to the left or right (to allow text wrapping) or in the centre of your text which is useful if you prefer the video to be the full width of your blog.  You can also add some margins around your video in the same manner as with your pictures  if you want to avoid your text from butting right up to the video area.

You can alter the size of the display of your video by clicking on it and then click on one of the corners, hold and drag across until you are happy with its size. As my video already has a title ‘Trip to the Dentist’ I am not going to bother adding a caption, but if you wish to do so, simply type in your chosen text into the top box in the Video menu and it will be added below the video.

I do hope that this post has helped you to see how easy it is to add a video inside your post using Windows Live Writer. Next post we’ll take a look at Adding some  very useful plug-ins that make Writer even more versatile than it already is! I’ll run through some of my favourites and show you how to use them.

TG

Blogging with Windows Live Writer 4.

Let’s Get Mapping!

Another very useful feature in Windows Live Writer is the Map feature. This allows you to add a map to your blog in order to show your readers exactly where you are blogging about if  a destination is mentioned in your post. Perhaps you are blogging about a day trip out, or somewhere that you recently visited. A holiday destination perhaps, or just your home town. It can really enhance the story for your readers if they can see a map or birds eye view of exactly where you are posting about or the spot where you took a photo during your visit there.

Once you have composed your story or post, decide whereabouts you would like your map to be placed. I usually place mine either at the top of my post (almost like a header) or alternatively alongside the text that mentions that particular destination. So let’s insert a Map.

Bings Map window 1. Click on the Map icon in the Insert list. A Bing Map window of the world will then open.

2. Type in the area or destination into the search box at the top of the world map and then click on the search icon. Your chosen destination will appear in the default road view. You can now choose which map view you prefer, a road view, an aerial view or my personal  favourite  a birds eye view.

3. Next you need to decide whereabouts to place your Map in your post and in exactly the same way as pictures you can place it to the left, right or centre of your text. You can also enlarge it by ‘dragging’ either of the corner arrows in order to make it smaller or larger, or alternatively by dragging  on the centre arrows to make it wider or taller.

4. Once you are completely happy with the placement and size of your inserted map, you can add a caption to it. Just click on it to make the Map menu appear in the right hand column and then add  your caption inside the Caption  box at the top. Under Options if you click on ‘Customise Map’ you can change it to a different view.  You might decide to insert a pushpin in order to illustrate the exact spot where you took a photo or stayed during your visit or holiday.  In exactly the same way as I illustrated  previously with pictures, you can also add margins to the Map so that your text does not butt right up to the edge of it, making it look so much neater and easier to read.  Using the Birds Eye view gives your readers a fantastic view of a place that your blogging about. Take a look at York Minster for example from the air!

A Birds Eye View
A Birds Eye View

And here’s an Aerial view complete with a pushpin showing exactly where I stood when taking the following photo of York Minster.  

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York Minster

Next post I will tackle adding a whole photo album to your blog post using either Live Photo Gallery and a SkyDrive account on Windows Live. I’ll also show the different ways that you can choose to display that Photo Album inside your post as well.

TG

Blogging with Windows Live Writer 2.

A picture says a thousand words!

An old saying but one that is so true especially when writing a blog!  Not only that, but including a picture into your blog post can enhance the content, breaking up those realms of text for your readers. It also makes any post look far more attractive to look at if it is accentuated by lot’s of nice photos and pictures to illustrate your story or post.  Writer allows you to quickly and easily add photos and pictures into your text. Then it also allows you to do a multitude of different things with those pictures. Place then where you want to inside your text, resize them to any size you like, add different borders and effects to them, add a caption and even add to your blog post a whole photo album if you want to!  So let’s take a look at some of the possibilities with your pictures inside Writer shall we?

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1. To add a picture from your photo’s on your computer, firstly place your cursor where you wish the picture to be placed inside your text and then select the Picture icon from the Insert list in the right hand side column. I have chosen a picture of a neighbourhood cat lazing in the sun which I took on one of our walks. By default the picture will be inserted ‘Inline’ so it will be placed on the left hand side and your text will not ‘wrap around’ it.  Any text that you insert after you have inserted the picture will simply push the picture further down the post  Added to that, it will leave a large gap in your text next to the inserted picture. By default the picture will also use the ‘drop shadow’ style of border and will be of a small size.  So let’s change its position within the text first of all.

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2. Click on the picture. The right hand side column now changes to the Picture menu to show you all the options for your picture.  Firstly let’s make our text ‘wrap around’ the picture either on the left or the right of it. Click on the small arrow under Layout, text wrapping:  and choose left or right hand side.  Now note what happens to your text.  The text will  move and ‘wrap around’ your inserted picture! 

Trouble is that it really looks rather untidy as our text is butting right up to the edge of our picture therefore making it hard to read. We can change that by giving the picture a margin at that side where the text is wrapping around it. So let’s alter that next.

 

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3. Click on the picture to bring up the picture menu and then click on the black arrow under margins followed by  selecting Custom Margins. If your picture is on the left hand side of your text, you will need to add a margin to the right hand side of your picture and if your picture is on the right hand side, then you will need to add a margin to the left.  I have added a 10 margin to my picture. Now the text is no longer butting up to the edges of the picture and is much easier to read. Next I am going to add a border to my picture.

4. Under the Borders choice in the Picture menu, you will note that it already shows as Drop shadow. By clicking on the box, you are presented with a list of  other types of border to choose from. These are as follows, None,Drop Shadow (default), Instant Photo, Photopaper,Reflection, Rounded Corners, Solid 1 pixel and Solid, 3 pixels. Try them all out to see how each makes your picture look. Some suit different pictures and also different blogs. The Instant Photo one makes your picture look like a Polaroid shot.

Instant Photo border  PhotoPaper border Reflection borderRounded corners border

Here you can see some of the different borders applied. The instant photo, the Photopaper, the reflection and the rounded corners one.  As you can see, you can really make any picture that you include inside your post look very attractive. But what if you want to make the picture larger than the default size?  No problem! 

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5. Click on the picture again, and from the picture menu click on the Advanced tab. Here you can fully adjust the size of your picture and either use the default sizes available at the top or alternatively input your own size into the boxes provided. Its a good idea to keep the Lock ratio box checked unless you want a stretched picture. the default sizes offered are small (default) medium, large and original.  You can customize these sizes if you wish but for now we will leave them as they are.  Instead, let’s choose our own size by changing the width and/or height in the Size boxes.

6. Input your new size for your picture by adjusting the number in the width and/or height boxes. Your picture will then change to your custom size inside your draft post.  I am going to change my picture to  width 600 pixels. Because I am leaving the Lock ratio ticked as I wish to keep it the same, the height will automatically be altered as well.  Now I have my new size. The text on the right moves narrower to make room for my wider picture. It now has a new border, the Solid 3 pixels one to make it stand out.

 In my next post I’m going to show you other cool things that you can do with your pictures such as adding a caption, tilting them in your post, making them stand out by changing the contrast, and also trying out some cool effects on them.

TG

 

 

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